There’s more to quilling than paper! Lisa will be demonstrating various coiling techniques at Trackside Studios in the River Arts District on Saturday, October 9th from 2 – 4:00. You can even give it a try! Come by 375 Depot Street.
September brings a new season and new work! Stop by Trackside Studios in the River Arts District to see some of my varied originals.
Visit Trackside at 375 Depot Street, Asheville
Life can be challenging, especially these days! We’re moving forward though and doing whatever we can in a safe way. As an art teacher and arts advocate, I’m thrilled to see that people are gravitating to creative outlets more than ever. Art making is a great stress reliever and can help us achieve healthy balance in our lives.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in my studio and my teaching schedule is resuming. I’m really thankful for that. Creating art and helping others with their creativity is my lifework.
Calligrams ~ Visual Poems
When I was in third grade, my teacher invited parents to visit our classroom to observe our daily activities. My mother came and sat in the back of the room with other parents. During our cursive writing lesson, my teacher used my practice sheets as examples and complimented my work. I was thrilled because I thought of cursive writing as a true art form (and still do). One night, more recently, I started doodling. I ended up creating a tree using my cursive handwriting, overlapping words about growth to develop different values. I was entranced. I instantly loved this cathartic creative process. Since 2014, I have been using my handwriting to form images. My clients give me lists of words, phrases and dates that are meaningful to them. I turn these words into images of their choice. They appreciate being part of the process and I enjoy learning about their experiences. I also offer a workshop called “Images with Words” to bring this interesting art form to students of all ages.
This all has brought me to research “calligrams” (images with words). Guillaume Apollinaire popularized the art of making images through the novel arrangement of words via his 1918 book Calligrammes. Making pictures with words can be traced back many centuries. Aratea includes poems written by Greek poet Aratus in the 3rd- century BC. These poems were translated into Latin, describing astronomical constellations. The constellations were then drawn above the poetry with red dots indicating where the stars appear in the sky. Words that describe the constellations were used to form creative images on the page. The words used to form the drawings were taken from passages in Hyginus’ Astronomica. The images and words become tied to one another, completing the scene. Today, there are numerous examples of graphic designs that turn words into shapes. Some of these creative works are called “concrete poems”, “shape poems”, or “visual poems”.
Around 2008, I was perusing books in the art section at the Morrocroft Library in Charlotte and ran across a book on Quilling. I enjoy working with paper so I checked it out and have been quilling ever since. Quilling is the age old craft of curling and coiling paper. It’s also called Paper Filigree and considered a Paper Graphics art form (especially popular in Eastern Europe). Kings and Queens commissioned artisans to decorate crowns and tea trays with quilled paper embellishments as far back as the late 1700’s. The artisans used bird quills to curl the thin pieces of paper. Now metal tools are used to form the paper strips that are only 1/8″ wide. Once formed into shape, the quilled paper is glued on its edge to a background of choice. It’s quite a delicate process. When I first started quilling, my daughter and I watched YouTube videos. One demonstrator said, “Quilling is not for the impatient artist. It can be pure torture.” Oh, great! But I was up for the challenge and began embellishing wedding invitations and baby announcements (several for a best friend from a very big family). I still do that, but I also create unique designs and quill business logos.
For several years, my business was called Mainstream Creative. My prime pursuit was to bring creative outlets to a broad clientele. That remains a significant endeavor. But I wanted my business name to reflect my offerings as an artist and instructor more suitably. So I recently renamed it Versatile Artwork. I develop my art through a variety of art forms and teach a variety of classes.
I love making the creative process accessible to people from all walks of life. Art making provides a diversion from our day to day routines and can relieve stress, especially during challenging times. It can also allow for self reflection and awareness.
I have been told that my artistic talent is extensive and versatile; far from mainstream or common. And to that I say, thanks! My business is not just about my art though. It’s also about providing creative classes to people from diverse backgrounds. Students of all ages and all skill levels. I have primarily taught classic drawing methods, as drawing is fundamental. I also offer painting and mixed media workshops. My classes are always adjusted to the group that I’m serving.
As more people participate in the art making process, they become more appreciative of what it takes to create a finished piece of artwork. Creative awareness becomes mainstream… in a very unique way!